2017 Reds

Scott Schebler: Above-Average Ballplayer

It might seem controversial to say Scott Schebler is an above-average Major League Baseball player.  I don’t mean he projects to be above-average next year, or something; I mean he’s above-average now. And has been.  Recently we’ve seen comments from many on Twitter and on the hallowed pages of Redleg Nation calling for Schebler to be benched or demoted.  I’m here to say that is poppycock (even if those comments came before Schebler’s current hot streak).

Consider the following chart.  This is Schebler’s career batting line broken up by season.

scheblerchart

Notice he’s played 124 games (as of Monday afternoon) and amassed 413 plate appearances.  This is also known as “not a full season of playing time.”

Now notice the WAR column.  He’s produced 1.9 WAR in less than a full season.  An average player produces 2.0 WAR of value in 600 plate appearances, by definition.

What does Schebler project to do over his first 600 PA?  Well, if his next 187 PA are like his previous 413 PA, he projects to be worth 2.8 WAR.  Solidly above-average.  If you like the Baseball-Reference flavor of WAR, Schebler has amassed 1.6 WAR and projects for 2.3 WAR over 600 PA.

Let’s review; an .802 OPS, a 111 wRC+, and 2.8/2.3 WAR… This is not the type of person we demote.

Schebler is a bit older than a traditional prospect at 26, but athletic power hitters can sometimes peak in their late 20s.  If the Reds are getting Scott Schebler’s peak for league-minimum and arbitration salary levels, seems to me like he’s a pretty valuable asset.  Remember, league-average play for cheap is valuable.

If I were Brick Prilliams (bit of a stretch?), I’d be letting Schebler, Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, and Jesse Winker each play 4-5 times a week.

Schebler is too good to forget, yet Winker also deserves a shot.  Duvall has earned himself extended playing time, and Billy is perhaps the greatest ever (Can I get that raise now, Chad?).  We need this 4- man outfield platoon.

Make it happen, Brick Prilliams!!

Stat lines courtesy of FanGraphs. BWar courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

45 thoughts on “Scott Schebler: Above-Average Ballplayer

  1. How do you get to a 4 man outfield from Schebler being above average?

    Duvall and schebler need to play 150 games. Billy shouldn’t but will. Winker will but no rush as he still has work to do at AAA so let him get 500 PA there.

    • I get there because I believe Winker is better than both Duvall and Schebler. The starting premise was that some people think Schebler isn’t good or won’t be good. I’m simply saying he’s already good.

      You can’t get better at hitting MLB pitching in AAA.

      • And I think that both Duvall and Schebler can improve on the kind of major leaguer they are today. I think they are both still learning the pitchers

        I loved Jay Bruce and wanted him signed to a 100 year extension because he is going to hit 40 HRs, maybe this year.

        But it has been a joy watching Schebler emerge. He is young like Suarez and looks like he is applying the coaching. When he masters the bunt to 3rd and walks to 1st base every time the infield gives him that shift, it will be fun.

        I watched Wade Boggs take batting practice at Fenway and it was fun. Bunt left, Bunt Center, Bunt Right; Liner left, liner center, liner right; HR Left, HR Center, HR right.

        It was almost like he was trying to do it….

        Being able to wield the bat in all parts of the plate gets you through slumps. If they put 9 guys on the right side, you have to learn how to hit to left.

        Love Jay Bruce but he did not do that enough until last year, and he could have been much better if he listened to the coaching the way that Suarez and Schebler appear to be

    • What does Winker have to work on in AAA? He’s a big leaguer who’s blocked by two other big leaguers who happen to have been born before he was. If Jesse Winker has 500 PA in AAA at the end of the season, 2017 will have been a complete failure for him.

    • Why do they need to play 150 games? I’m sure that their agents want them to, but the 4 man outfield gives all of them ample rest (probably critical for Billy and Duvall) and plenty of at-bats. My only concern is center field when BH isn’t playing, since Schebler is the only one who could spell him, and my sense is that he’s not very good there.

  2. Barring injury or ineffectiveness, the Reds have an OF log jam. Only solution: apply to the American League.

    • Get used to it – there are a ton of logs still coming down the river. Guys like Ervin, Aquino, Trammell, Friedl need a place to play, eventually. Definitely a good problem to have.

  3. Schebler is no worse a batter than Bruce was here, to my eye has a step(maybe two, but not the laser cannon arm) and for being the cost peanuts, is great value, we traded Bruce and replaced with Bruce, in a way.

    • Oddly enough, yesterday afternoon when I tossed this together, he was right next to Jay Bruce on the NL WAR charts. I thought that appropriate.

      • Not a bad player to get in the Frazier trade. Seems like that trade is turning out better than many people would acknowledge and if he keeps up a the above average play over a couple of seasons it make the trade pretty darn good.

    • Funny, because I was about to post that Schebler’s biggest problem is his streakiness — just like Jay bruce.

      I like him. Keep him around until there’s a good long-term reason not to.

  4. I’m no personal trainer or extreme physical specimen myself but Winker looked a little soft when I saw him for the first time w/the Reds. He needs to hit the weights and get stronger to drive the baseball! Obp is great and everything but .681 ops at Lville doesn’t scream for a promotion! You put Bengal uniforms on Duvall and Schebler and they wouldn’t look that out of place as a linebacker and a safety! They have 8 bombs apiece. Duvall hit 3 doubles on Sunday alone while Winker has 4 on the year!

    • Agreed Indy,

      and that strength and conditioning program that Winker is on needs to be required for Hamilton and Pedraza as well.

      I have always inherently understood driving the ball, but the power numbers and on base (hitting better pitches) along with exit velocity have helped me enjoy the analysis even more.

      Don’t get me wrong, I will still be old school and use the eye test but that is only because I am lazy and do not want to do all the work. I come to this website to be spoon fed this information

    • You can’t evaluate players in small samples. Winker’s approach to hitting, bat control, and eye are better now than Schebler or Duvall’s ever will be.

      If his power doesn’t come back, he’ll probably be about the same as those two guys… 2-3ish WAR players. If his power DOES come back, you’re talking about Votto Lite.

      He’s earned a spot in the bigs by being a very good AAA hitter at a young age. He doesn’t need to hit a bunch of homers to be good in the bigs.

      • 2-3 WAR seems really unlikely unless he hits for some power. His defense is probably worse than Duvall or Schebler. He currently looks like Brett Gardner, with less speed and less defense. I think he will hit for more power now that he is healthy, but eventually he needs to show that in games, and I don’t see why it needs to be in the majors.

    • Ever see a picture of Ted Williams? They called him “The Splendid Splinter” for good reason. A certain amount of strength, particularly in the hands and wrists and legs, is needed to hit for power, but plenty of guys who don’t look like linebackers (Todd Frazier, Joey Votto, Henry Aaron) can hit it out. Timing, coordination and mechanics are probably more critical than raw strength. And how do you know that Winker doesn’t lift? I bet he does.

  5. Schebler is a keeper and I like playing all 4 outfielders 4 -5 days a week so when does Winker arrive?Winker gets on base which is sorely needed on our team but most of all it gets some competition started.I am a big Billy fan but this is his fourth year so he needs to prove he is more then a fast guy that plays great defense.

    • I think Billy is what he is. He’s a “fast guy that plays great defense.” He’s shown that in a full season he’s a 3+ WAR player. That is a borderline all-star level player.

      Since he doesn’t have the traditional stats (AVG, HR, RBI) he won’t make much money in arbitration, so he’s actually a fairly valuable asset to have, even if he never improves his hitting.

      He should be hitting 9th, though… not 1st.

      • Billy is going to hit .240ish with an .OBP of .300 ish with no power and great defense. I think you can create a great outfield by hitting him 9 th 120 games and having him be a strategic late inning sub another 35 games to create havoc in a tied game.

        Duvall is who.he is as well. He’s going to hit .240ish…With obp of .295 ish and hit 28-32 HR and play solid defense. He could do well starting 120 games and used strategically in 35 high leverage situations as well. A power RH bat off the bench in late innings a big asset.

        Schebler has not hit his ceiling…We don’t know what happens with him…He gets 28 starts in May in my book. I think the Reds have a potential for incredible run creation with votto/Suarez/schebler at the 2/3/4 slots.

        I’m ok with giving Winker the month of May in.Louisville. Bring him up Memorial day weekend if he’s hitting .275/.355/.400. He compliments Duvall and Hamilton in my book….Not replaces them.

        George Will famously said everyone leaves spring training tied at 60-60….It’s the other 42 that count. Let these 4 very different…but very talented outfielders and deep bullpen help win those other 42. Just skip the scripted speedy everyday leadoff role…and everyday 4 hitter RBI role.

  6. 5 guys for 3 spots—-good problem to have. Injuries pop up when you least expect them……..on this team more than most seemingly.

    The chink in the armor for Schebler is his platoon splits and to a lesser degree his throwing arm. Unfortunately, Duvall is an even/slightly reverse split guy so a platoon isn’t the best idea. No matter, both deserve to play if they can maintain the OPS.

    Sadly, Billy’s abysmal OPS lands the bullseye squarely on him. If Ervin can be 20% better in WRC+ and replace 90% of the defense while playing a full season, isn’t that a valid reason to give him a look?

    • Easy solution.. Duvall to 3b, Winker to Rf, Schebs to LF, Suarez to 2b and Peraza super subs. Then if Herrera and Senzel start knocking down the door you make some trades for other positions of need

      • If Duvall could handle 3B, seems like an OK solution. If he’s terrible, though, as some reports have indicated in the past, he’d likely not be a starting caliber player.

      • How can an “easy solution” be switching defensive positions of 4 players…and also weakens the Reds defensively?

        • I suppose the idea is that if Jose Peraza is a crappy hitter, this strengthens the team offensively. Essentially, enabling a switch of Peraza for Winker. Would the offense outweigh the defensive shortcomings? Who knows. But it’s a nice thought… and hopefully the kind of thought the Reds might have, even if they dismiss it.

          Positional flexibility was a hallmark of last year’s Cubs team… so I think it’s worth the though!

        • It’s not really switching if they all have played the positions before. The whole “moving guys around weakens them” thought is a little outdated. Suarez and peraza can play pretty much anywhere in the infield and schebler’s arm plays better in left field anyway. Duvall came up as a 3rd baseman and moved to outfield because of Frazier. It wouldn’t be asking that much to have him go back to his original position

          • It might be worth seeing how Duvall handles 3rd, but he wasn’t reputed to be good there. Meanwhile, Suarez is playing Gold-Glove caliber defense there, and Duvall is very solid in left. The Reds’ defense is one of their strengths, so disassembly should be done cautiously.

          • Duvall moved to the outfield because he was horrible at 3rd base. Nothing to do with Frazier.

  7. Whether intentional or not, the Reds rebuild has a lot similarities to how the Indians became title contenders:

    -Develop young pitching
    -Creative bullpen usage
    -Top 10 in MLB in steals, bottom half in HRs
    -Add power bat to get over the top (Indians…Napoli/Encarnacion….Reds TBD, or if even needed)

    I mention all this because the Indians have chosen to let their star OF prospect, Bradley Zimmer, master AAA and even overripen, rather than call up.

    So far this season, Zimmer’s numbers are better than Winker’s. Especially with MLB capable outfielders in Cincinnati, there would seem to be no need to rush Winker up.

    When WInker is truly ready, Hamilton would be fine as a candidate to trade away, before his speed declines and he no longer provides any value.

      • The Indians also have Tyler Naquin and Mike Clevinger at Columbus. I’d love to have any of those guys!

  8. I agree with the 4 OF’ers concept and if Winker gets 500 ABs in AAA it is a lost season for him. The answer seems so logical you wonder why it hasn’t already been done. It seems that Scooter is a very capable infielder for the bench. Duval or Kivelhan can play first in a pinch, Alacantra has not really contributed anything, except pinch running, What is the FO waiting for?

    • It is apparent that the front office strategy for “sorting” includes giving the players who started the season as starters an extended look before making any changes. Only they know what the date is when that will change. But it’s clear it is a very sound strategy. What if they had bailed on Schebler seven days ago? Or Duvall? Hamilton had a good game last night. Peraza is struggling, but you can’t base judgment on his future based on one month.

      It appears that “sorting” means they will take whatever period of time is necessary in their minds to determine if a given player is an above-average MLB player at his position. I think it’s a superb idea. Nobody in AAA is blowing the doors off offensively, so there’s no reason to rush anyone up to a starting position.

      • Yup ditto. If Winker was driving .400 and had 15 dingers then we’ll he would already be back in the bogs

  9. MLB avg exit velocity is 87.67…..Joey is at 85.1 mph while Duvall is at 90.23 and Schebler is 90.38! Interesting! I don’t know if Schebler can hit lefties well enough full-time but when they make contact the ball takes off!

    • Votto’s EV on ground balls is extremely low. That’s why he’s still doing “OK” with such a low EV. His liners and fly balls are fine.

    • A lot of high EV guys are also high strikeout hitters. It’s why EV doesn’t necessarily correlate with being a top-tier hitter.

  10. Disco and Finnegan injuries…On top of Homer…Too much. Arroyo and Adleman aren’t major league pitchers…. Sigh

    And Feldman isn’t being flipped for anything…..Sigh. except maybe a bucket of balls and some bazooka bubble gum…

    It’s starting pitching. Perhaps this is the game that gets Cody Reed and Stephenson in the rotation….Not to be confused with they are Dwight Gooden and Madison Bumgarner…But Arroyo/Adleman/ Feldman are wasting Joey Votto’ s hitting and Suarez emergence and other good things.

    As good as last night was…Today is a step back…..the future competed and won last night….Today is 2014/15/16….Rinse and repeat.

  11. Couldn’t agree more. Schebler is trending up it appears with 900+ ops in aaa last season and appears to be getting comfortable this season. He appears to have plenty speed to add to his vslue on defense and baserunning.

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